Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

European Sevens Championship in England in 2011?

A tantalising suggestion that the FIRA European Sevens Championship could be taking place in England this season - the first time any FIRA tournament will have been played anywhere in the UK or Ireland.

Nothing is confirmed yet, but I have been given details of an (unpublished) letter from FIRA to all unions about the 2011 European Sevens tournaments. There are so many nations who play international sevens in Europe - nearly half of all the active rugby nations in the world - that the continent's regional association has to divide the teams into three divisions, which gets quite complicated. In addition the next Sevens World Cup is in 2013, which implies qualification tournaments in 2012, the seedings and organisation for which will be based on the 2011 results.

So, while the "A" and "B" championships (that is the second and third division) will go on more or less as they do normally, the "Top Ten" championship for the, well, top 10 nations is going to be beefed up a bit. In 2009 none of Europe's representative made even the semi-finals, so the aim must be to try to get continent's leading teams as well prepared as possible in 2013.

With this in mind, instead of a single "Top Ten" tournament this spring, there will be two with the championship being awarded to the best nation across both events, using the same points system as the men's sevens circuit. The first tournament will be in Sweden, but the second will "take place during the last round of the [men's sevens] Grand Prix Series". That last round takes place over two weekends in London and Edinburgh at the end of May - so this could just mean that the top ten European sevens teams will be playing in England for the first time.

Who will they be? At the moment its impossible to say as it depends of how many of the Six Nations enter. Ireland and Scotland women have never been particularly interested in Sevens - neither entered the 2009 World Cup (well, Scotland did but then pulled out). England will definitely take part, as will France and Italy and Wales will probably take part.

However, do not take it for granted that the winners will be a Six Nations team - Sevens is a different world. Spain are an awesome sevens formation - European champions last season - while Netherlands, Russia and sevens specialists Portugal cannot be underestimated. In addition - assuming Scotland and Ireland are absent - Germany and Sweden will be pretty competitive.

No guarantees yet, but if it does take place in England it should be a great weekend.

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